Honda has had a 'strong winter' says Horner

08 February, 2019, 10:40 | Author: Amy Huff
  • Red Bull to launch new F1 car on same day as Mercedes

Max Verstappen is the driver that five times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel will fear the most this season, his Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said on Tuesday.

Verstappen, 21, won two races previous year and will be hoping Honda provide a reliable and powerful engine after the manufacturer's return to Formula One with McLaren ended in divorce at the end of 2017.

"I don't think he lacks anything to take those guys on and he's probably the driver they fear the most", Horner said, according to BBC Sport.

Verstappen was the sport's youngest driver when he made his debut with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso as a 17-year-old and the youngest ever victor at 18 at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo donned Renault overalls for the first time since deciding to leave Red Bull. "We've seen in the past year that depending on the circuit, those penalties can have minimal consequences". He is worldlier, more experienced.

Following his crash-strewn start to last season, Horner reckons Verstappen has grown in maturity that will enable him to deal with any challenges he may face.

Verstappen hit the headlines after Brazil, when he was ordered to do two days' public service for shoving French driver Esteban Ocon after the collision.

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"It was interesting talking to him after the Formula E race. Whether you penalise or not.' I think that was actually a useful exercise for him to see the other side of the fence", said Horner.

After only one season in Formula 1, Pierre Gasly has been promoted to Red Bull and the Frenchman feels that he is in the "best situation" ahead of the 2019 season but there is uncertainty about Honda.

Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso is now set to be the first team to reveal its new vehicle for the 2019 season, one week from today.

Horner said Honda had shown good progress over the European winter and morale was high. It's also exciting, but that really only comes when I'm in the auto.

While relations between Red Bull and previous engine partner Renault collapsed into acrimony, Horner has faith that the relationship with Honda will not play out in a similar way.

Coincidentally, his first win of the season in Austria involved Hamilton's first race retirement since 2016 but the British veteran recovered and is now just two World Championship wins away from former Benetton and Ferrari driver Schumacher's record set back in 2004.

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